madly in love with Iraq


My Friend and I

We stood silent for few seconds facing each other; 12 years stood there between us; We’ve aged and changed and went through different experiences. The memories kept on flashing back, our school time, our neighbourhood, the local club and even the first love.

Her first comment entering my flat was that it feels like my family house in Baghdad! We explored the marks of the years on each other; we picked on different silly things and brought the past in an effort to weld the broken bond.

I tortured her for few days with my bad habits; listening to the news during meals, getting hooked to the net for an hour or so and last but not least the Newspaper daily addiction.

After two days, I woke up in the morning and looked at her sleeping soundly, I remembered the nights we spent studying hard on our final year in high school, a sudden urge to hug her filled me; I did and I felt the old V is back, she is with me again and the years just melted away..

We did not speak about Iraq for a while, something very unlike me, probably I was trying to run away again from the sore spot, or maybe my reluctance was due to my fear of her reaction. But how could we? And for how long?

The first test came quicker than I speculated; we were walking along the Thames admiring the Tower Bridge, when a man volunteered to take a photo of us. He did, and unexpectedly asked where we come from, a very rare attitude from an English man! “I come from Iraq” was my reply; he got very interested and said, “Oh, I am going there soon!, which city in Iraq?” I proudly answered “Najaf”, then he looked at my friend questioningly and she answered “I am from New Zealand!”, I felt as if I was hit with a hammer, and quickly corrected her; “She is from Iraq too, and originally from Arbil, but she currently lives in NZ”.

That incident brought out the demons inside me again, and my role as a flame keeper came back with vengeance!

She simply said, that she is happy living in NZ and she would never go back. I have a good job, and I am bringing up my children as I wish them to be in a quite and healthy atmosphere.
I was not convinced, and I made a detour on the original plan of site seeing!

Word into Art/The British Museum

We entered the British Museum on a rainy day, we walked few meters inside only to look at this in the entrance with all the spot lights on:

This is Dia Al Azzawi’s piece standing in here attracting every visitor,

And these below are Hassan Massoudy’s two pieces What do you think?

19 Iraqi artists took part i n this exhibition, more than a third of the whole number of Middle Eastern artist participants; and tell me if you still believe you are from NZ.

Never mind, you lost faith in the Iraqis of those days; let’s go up stairs; aren’t you proud to be a descendant of those people?

TheWinged Bull

The journey hasn’t ended as yet; we moved next door to Paris to continue collecting more proofs of who we are

The Louvre

Hammorabi's Obelisk



After all this, do you think it is right to abandon Iraq and dread being Iraqi?

But hala you are glorifying the past, look at us now, we are killing each other, and everyone is saying that we cannot identify our enemy to fight back.

I don’t care it is more important to identify the friend before the enemy, it is important to know who I am in order not to loose hope.

Zappy; this is for you, and I am trying very hard to be optimistic as I’ve always been..


  • Madly,
    I have been waiting for your next post! Its about time ;-)
    Tokyo has an exhibit "Persia, 7000 years of culture"--really thousands of years ago there was no Iraq and no Iran, and no Japan, and no USA...cultural identity I can understand...culture comes through your family, but national identity and flag waving, I am a bit doubtful of the benefits.
    "The earth is but one country, and mankind are its citizens"

    PS. My favorite is the caligraphy..probably alot of Japanese would agree??

    By Blogger Unknown, at 12:31 am  

  • So your friend is ok with those who stole Iraqi artefacts, but she still believes that being Iraqi is disgraceful.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:19 pm  

  • Hala,
    This is beautiful! And you are so right! No matter where life plants us, we remain Iraqi...
    If my father were alive and reading your blog, he would think, these are the thoughts that he preached all his life...
    May God bless you, again and again...

    By Blogger Zaineb Alani, at 7:51 pm  

  • Zappy! Says to Hala_S: your so witty!
    keep up the good work.

    and Have a great Day!

    Zappy! Zappy! Zappy!...

    By Blogger Zappy Corleone, at 5:53 am  

  • Again, I enjoy looking at these pictures. Our daughter is preparing for entrance to an art school, probably, probably in graphic design. I will try to show her these examples tomorrow.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 2:18 pm  

  • Hala-s
    Where have you been all my life? he he he, seriously though have just come across your site (God Bless the Links!) and have for the past 40minutes been trying to read as many post as possible with two exhausted (and neglected) kids moaning at me to get them ready for bed!

    Fascinating is an understatement, I will come back and go through in more detail later, but for now I am almost too afraid to look to deeply lest that like so many times before in this foreign land just when I think I have found someone "like me" they turn out to be one third of my age! Total ninjas, not Iraqi after all or ex-royalty!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:51 pm  

  • yeah thanks for this; there's a reason i keep reading:)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:03 pm  

  • i have lived my whole life inside Iraq, but have always taken our history for granted. Thank you for introducing me to my ancestors.

    By Blogger chikitita, at 7:35 am  

  • TELL ME ABOUT Iraq Star TV program. Do you want to be a contestant, Madly?

    By Blogger Unknown, at 11:57 am  

  • Hi all
    Thank you for your lovely comments.

    and magda your words made me very happy, and be rest assured that I am Iraqi, non ninja, not third your age and have no royal blood in me!

    nadia welcome again.

    chikitita, I am honoured by your visit.

    edoriver I didn't get your last comment?

    By Blogger hala_s, at 3:39 pm  

  • See Hala, when you post something optimistic all the replies are cheerful, applauding and by no means political!

    I went to the British Museum around 3 weeks ago and was absolutely taken aback by its awe. I only managed to see the Word Into Art exhibtion as it was a bit late. It was amazing.. the calligraphy just kept me looking at it for ages.. and I challenged myself to decipher the complex, inter-twining words and read them before I look at the explanation provided alongside each item. It was truly enjoyable.

    I really understand how Magda must have felt when she stumbled across this blog :) I can assure you (and her) that there are dozens of Iraqis who are desperately looking for people like you.. level headed, tolerant, modern but with an undying passion for your origins.

    Thank you.

    By Blogger Little Penguin, at 4:58 pm  

  • There is a TV program named "IRAQ Star". Have you heard of it? You must sing an Iraqi song, and if you win there is a prize of various kinds. I was just reading about it. I think you should enter. Write your own song ;-)

    By Blogger Unknown, at 11:06 am  

  • Hey Hala!

    It's been too long since I see you on MSN. I hope you are doing well despite the obviously conflicting thoughts and emotions inside you; and I assure you that so many Iraqi's outside of their country feel like you, and even many inside the country who do not even remember the streets as they drive down them.

    You really should write more about the ancestry of Iraq because most people have no clue about the magnificent artistic and cultural history of Iraq. So much including the wheel came from iraq, mathematics, astrology, architecture. So much beauty lies in Iraq's past, no matter how much disgrace and ugliness resides there in the current era. Eventually Iraq will regain its former glory, especially with the help of bloggers like yourself, chiki and all the others.

    And especially with the help of those who are inspired by you so much, like myself. I promise you I will help you remind people what Iraq is and always will be:

    A country with a glorious history and a people with much wisdom and pride.

    By Blogger olivebranch, at 7:11 am  

  • It's amazing how you can tell a true Iraqi at Heart from the rest.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:29 am  

  • Most of your post looked like bigotry, to me. I'm asking again... why do you want to live in Britain? You obviously don't like the British! I don't either, but I don't choose to live in a country where I loathe the people. You know what I'm talking about? And please don't move to the US.

    Beglaubigte Übersetzungen
    learn something useful

    By Blogger mewmewmew, at 3:53 pm  

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